While Pacific Crest Stock focuses on licensing images to other entities, we occasionally do have our own outside projects and this is a fun one. Mike Putnam has released his own Mt. Bachelor poster. The poster is big, 24inches tall x36 inches wide. The printing quality is excellent and the colors printed very accurately from Mike’s beautiful original Mt. Bachelor Photo. so far, the posters have been a big success at local ski shops and at Mt. Bachelor’s very own Gravity Sports.
This stunning Mt. Bachelor Poster was captured after a heavy winter snow fall in the Central Oregon Cascades. Winter images with barren trees are one of my pet peeves in the landscape photography world. images with barren trees simply look like the photographer didn’t care how the scene looked, they just wanted to take a shot. I have returned to this location countless times, at sunrise in an attempt to capture a beautiful, snowy image of Mt. Bachelor. The wonderful clouds in the background, enlivened by warm sunrise colors, finished off this beautiful image and make it the best Mt. Bachelor Poster we’ve ever seen. The poster is available for $20 and at wholesale rates for retailers who are willing to make larger orders. If you’d like to place an order, don’t hesitate to call us at 541-610-4815.
I am proud to announce that Bend ,Oregon’s premier tourism guide once again has one of our images for a cover shot. The “Visit Bend” guide has established itself as arguably the most informative , attractive and well organized guide in Oregon. Our ongoing relationship with Visit Bend, is an honor that we hope will continue long term. The Visit Bend Tourism Guide cover can be seen below.
Doug, Lynnette, and the rest of the crew are excellent to work with and they are great ambassadors for our city. Visit Bend has done an excellent job of bringing in events such as the 2010 Cyclocross National Championships, The 2010 Road riding nationals, and the 2011 Mountain Bike National Championships. All great events that fit well with the personality Bend.
The above image of South Sister from Sparks Lake is one of my personal favorites. To learn more information about this beautiful landscape photo and to see the whole image, visit my personal website by visiting the following link. Sparks Lake!
Thanks for Reading,
I have to start this blog entry with the admission that this is my first real attempt at sports/action photography. As many of you readers in the web world know, my strength as a photographer lies in my landscape images. I typically shoot with an old school wooden 4×5 film camera with the hopes of capturing the next great Oregon landscape photograph. To see some of my landscape photography, check out the following link: Oregon Landscape Photographer. Because I have lots of bicycling friends in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, I’ve developed an interest in the local wheeled sports. Last year, the good folks at Visit Bend, helped bring the 2009 Cyclocross national championships to our home city of Bend. I went to cheer on the local competitors and I was hooked. It is a great spectator sport. Lots of action, rough riding conditions, and a very colorful crowd. This year, I returned for the 2010 Cyclocross National Championships and once again, it was a blast. Below is one of my favorite shots from this year’s 2010 mens elite cyclocross race. A winding, spectator laden, muddy course, complete with a masked shirtless guy in briefs(Salty), 7 Santa Clauses, and Gumby. How awesome is that? During the two days that I shot during the Cyclocross nationals, I was repeatedly drawn back to landscape type shots like this that manage to capture the feel and energy of this tremendous event.
The first race I was able to catch was the men’s under 23 elite race, and it was riveting. Below is an image from the start of that race showing the riders poised, clean, and comfortable
Please notice the signature smoke stacks from Bend’s Old Mill District nicely framed beneath the starting gate and over the riders. That was no accident! Also notice the rider who is wearing the orange,blue and white lycra near the center of this photograph. That rider is Danny Summerhill who later became extremely filthy and then extremely happy after he eventually was crowned U23 Cyclocross National Champ.
As you can Summerhill didn’t stay clean the whole race. I spent a lot of time near the stairs as the climb made for some dramatic images. Below is another of the countless images of suffering and exhaustion I captured from near the stairs at Cyclocross Nationals. This kid is making a great face!
The following image of competitors climbing the stairs does a nice job of capturing the feel and mood of the U23 elite race. Muddy, and grueling.
Another interesting spot for viewing the races was at the bottom of a small sloping hill, near the vendor tents. During the wet and muddy U23 mens race, this hill was chaos. I saw at least 3 course marking poles broken by falling competitors. Below is a typically chaotic scene from that location.
A special commendation should be given to the large unknown man on the other side of the course who stood on top of a dagger like broken pole and saved at least to different competitors from seriously impaling themselves. I’m convinced that the unknown man prevented at least two trips to the emergency room.
The start of the mens 35-39 race offered a different kind of drama as there was a huge pile up immediately after the starting gun which led to the cyclocross scene you see below.
I love the randomness of one guy running with his bike at the start of the race and all the disruption in the middle of the pack.
Above is a competitor who deserves special notice for an unusual reason. The man you see grimacing on the stairs is Bend’s very own Doug Laplaca, the intrepid leader of Visit Bend. Doug and Visit Bend have done a phenomenal job of helping to bring wonderful events like Cyclocross Nationals to our fair city. These events bring in visitors, and are brilliantly suited to Bend Oregon’s strong and distinct outdoor personality. Thanks to Doug and the rest of the talented staff at Visit Bend.
Another fun attraction near the stairs was one of many big puddles on the course. After the first lap, the competitors were so soaked and mud coated that they largely disregarded the puddle, allowing me to capture images like the one below.
While the races on Saturday were thrilling, the true mayhem occurred on Sunday during the Men’s Open Elite Cyclocross Race. The course was inundated with cowbell swinging spectators. Part of what seems to make Cyclocross attractive and successful is its crazed fans. Below is one of my favorite shots from the men’s elite cyclocross race.
How excellent is this? Mud covered riders carrying their bikes up gooey stairs underneath a landscape worthy sky while some guy in dinosaur pajamas and a panda mask encourages them. Pure Awesomeness!
This is another image of wonderful cyclocross randomness! A crazed shirtless and masked man( “Salty”) cheers on Bend’s Ryan Trebon as a group of varied Santas also offer their support. Few spectator sports offer scenes that are more fun filled than this! Below is the obligatory winners photo of Todd Wells of Durango Colorado taking the gold. Todd rode strong and edged out local favorite Ryan Trebon who was cheered on by a frenzied local crowd.
For those of you who have never been to a cyclocross race. Go, go, go. The atmosphere is phenomenal and the competitors truly pour their hearts into the races. Hopefully in the not too distant future, Cyclocross Nationals will return to Bend, Oregon as Bend is an exceptional venue and the races were brilliantly supported by the Central Oregonians and visitors alike. To see many more images from the 2010 Cyclocross Nationals, please visit the galleries at our stock photography site by folowing this link: Cyclocross National Photos. If you have any specific needs for images from Cyclocross Nationals, feel free to contact me at (541) 610-4815 or email me at Mike@pacificcreststock.com. I have hundreds of great shots from this phenomenal event that may meet your cyclocross Imaging needs.
Thanks for visiting,
We’ve recently uploaded some new landscape photographs to our Main Pacific Crest Stock Photography website. Please visit the following link to visit our New Oregon Landscape Photography Gallery. Below you can find a sampling of some of our newest additions. Enjoy and please let us know which are your favorite landscape photographs in the comment section at the end of this entry. Many of these Oregon Landscape Photographs are available as fine art prints at the following links. Bend Oregon Photographer- Mike Putnam
There are several different crops available for the above Mt. Washington Image including ones with plenty of text space if necessary.
The above macro image of swirling autumn ground cover taken at high elevation in the Central Oregon Cascades offers a more intimate view of autumn in Oregon.
A more thorough description of how I captured the above Sparks Lake Sunrise Photograph is available at the following link. to Purchase this Sparks Lake photo, visit my personal site, Sparks Lake Photo.
The above picture of Central Oregon’s Three Fingered Jack was taken at one of my favorite back country location at the peak of summer wildflower season.
The above photo of Bend Oregon’s Shevlin Park can currently be seen in a fine art version at the Sage Cafe in Bend Oregon’s Northwest Crossing neighborhood. Finally one last image of Central Oregon’s beloved Three SIsters Mountains during a beautiful winter sunrise.
The above photo of the Three Sisters Mountains near Bend Oregon, can be seen at the Mountain Gallery of our Main Pacific Crest Stock Photography site by visiting the following link. Oregon Mountains. Please do visit our site to see more of our new images. Pacific Crest Stock Photography
As Always, Thanks for visiting,
Shamefully I’ve never photographed one of Oregon’s most beautiful locations, Silver Falls State Park, until recently. As autumn was winding to a halt and snow was falling in Bend, I decided I wasn’t ready for winter and made a trip over Santiam Pass to this gem in the Oregon State Park system. Silver falls is one of the places that makes Oregon special. The fact that is not a National Park is a tribute to our states beauty. It is one of the Oregon State parks, Like Smith Rock State Park and Ecola State Park that would definitely be a national park if they were located in most other states in America. To view a beautiful fine art photograph of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park, visit this link, Silver Falls fine art print.
Silver Falls is located near Silverton, Oregon and was about a 2.5 hour drive from Bend in good weather. A great way to explore Silver Falls is to hike the “Trail of Ten Falls” which has a trailhead at the South Falls parking lot. At about 8 miles in length, the hike might not be for everybody but it is certainly not a technical hike. The image above is of South Falls from near the parking lot and visitor center. South Falls drops 177ft into a beautiful dark pool.
South Falls is one of the three waterfalls in the park that you can actually walk behind which is a fun experience for young and old. Continuing behind the falls will lead you accross an attractive foot bridge across Silver Creek which will connect you with the Trail Of Ten Falls. If you follow the Trail of ten falls, like I did, you will next stumble upon Lower South Falls which is pictured below.
There is beauty in every direction on this section of the trail of ten falls. The outflow from Lower South Falls is particularly beautiful and I was lucky enough to catch some late fall color with the gracefully flowing Silver Creek in the following Image.
While continuing along the trail of ten falls, you’ll fight sensory overload for over a mile before hearing the roar of the small but attractive Lower North Falls pictures below.
The trail throughout this state park is an exceptional tribute to Oregon’s natural beauty that cannot be overstated. The lush textures of this temperate rain forest combined with the rich earthy aromas of early autumn decay are unforgettable and two of the few things that my home town of Bend, Oregon lacks. Luckily, this green eden is only 2.5 hours away for a slow driver like myself. The trail passes a few smaller but still enchanting falls during its next stretch. Double falls, Drake Falls, and Middle North Falls are all enjoyed in this stretch of the Trail of ten falls. A side trail off of the trail of ten falls visits the very worth winter falls. This waterfall relies on heavier waterflows for its elegant form. If you visit Silver Falls State Park in the heat of summer, you might skip this detour as the falls may be absent. Below is Winter falls in its autumn glory.
this stunning waterfall does deserve inspection if there is enough water flow. Below is a closer image of Winter falls.
The trail is laden with life throughout this hike but particularly so between Twin falls and the Jaw Dropping North Falls. Below is a small bonus I found during this autumn hike.
In this startlingly beautiful hike, North Falls is truly one of the highlights. There are many good vantage points from which to view this 136 foot watery beauty.
North falls is easily accessible from the aptly named North Falls Parking lot. It is not to be missed! It is one of the waterfalls that you can walk behind if you can negotiate relatively easy sections of mossy lush wooded trail like the one pictured below.
One last view of North Falls as seen from near the underpass seems worthy to me. I was a little late for optimal fall color, but the scenery is stunning at any time of year in this wonderful State Park.
This park is just plain amazing and a worthy visit for explorers of any age. If you are traveling from Central Oregon I would highly recommend leaving early and planning on spending an entire day in this watery wonderland. One final recommendation. Stop at Rosie’s Mountain Coffe House in Mill City, Oregon along the way. The service is great and the food and drinks are even better. Excellent scones, flavorful coffee and the best cold cut sandwiches outside of Camp Sherman all served in a quaint roadside setting. It should be part of your Silver Falls State adventure if you are visiting from the Central Oregon area.
More of my great Oregon Waterfall images can be found at my Mike Putnam Photography site which can be visited by clicking the following link: Oregon waterfall photos
Thanks for reading,
Although Central Oregon is probably best known for all of its winter and summer fun, we think it might actually be at its best during autumn. Between the months of September and October, the Central Oregon towns of Bend, Sisters, Camp Sherman, and Sunriver are blessed with reliably sunny days, cool clear nights, and absolutely spectacular fall color. If you haven’t experienced autumn in Central Oregon, you’re really missing out on a special time. To help get you get started on planning next year’s vacation, the Pacific Crest Stock Photography team has pasted some suggestions below with photos from some of our favorite fall-time trails and activities.
Ten Things to Do During Central Oregon’s Autumn Months
1. Go hiking in the lava flows around the Three Sister Wilderness Area. There are many different lava flows to choose from within a short drive of Bend, Sunriver, or Sisters. Most of the lava flows are interspersed with vine maples and other vegetation, which turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow during the autumn months.
2. Go biking through a grove of aspen trees. Some of the best groves of aspen trees are found along the Deschutes River or Tumalo Creek Basin near Bend, the Ochoco National Forest outside of Prineville, the High Desert Museum between Bend and Sunriver, or near Black Butte Ranch along the outskirts of Sisters.
3. Go hiking or biking on the Deschutes River Trail. The Deschutes River Trail is a real gem of a trail that runs through the Deschutes National Forest and connects the towns of Bend and Sunriver. It contains several beautiful waterfalls and large groves of Ponderosa pine, larch trees, and aspen trees. This is a perfect place to hike or bike with small children.
4. Go explore the forest service roads bordering the Mount Washington Wilderness Area. There is a wonderful network of roads that runs between highways 126 and 242 just outside of Sisters, Oregon. The roads provide access to the Mount Washington Wilderness Area and also provide great wide-open views of Black Butte, Three Fingered Jack, and Three Sisters Mountains. In September and October, the roads explode with fall color. For more information and photos from the Mount Washington Wilderness Area, see our previous entry.
5. Go biking or rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock State Park is always a magical place to visit, but it is especially nice in autumn when the banks of the Crooked River are alive with color. Because of its desert location, Smith Rock also tends to stay a few degrees warmer than the surrounding mountain towns of Bend, Sunriver and Sisters. This makes it an especially nice road trip on cooler October days. For more information and photos from Smith Rock State Park, see our previous entry.
6. Go visit the Camp Sherman Store and the Wizard Falls trout hatchery on the Metolius River. The world-famous Metolius River and the locally-loved Camp Sherman Store are two of the most special places in Central Oregon. The Metolius River puts on one of the most colorful autumn displays in the region, and between the fly fishing and hiking opportunities along the banks of the river, the trout-viewing at the Wizard Falls hatchery, and the awesomely huge sandwiches and well-stocked selection of local microbrews at the Camp Sherman Store, this stop belongs on your list of “must-do” activities. This is also a perfect place to hike with small children, and if your little ones need a little extra motivation, it might be nice to know that the Camp Sherman Store offers a large selection of penny candy (yes, a penny!). For more information and photos from the Metolius River, see our previous entry.
7. Go for a drive over McKenzie Pass. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the drive up and over McKenzie Pass is one of the most scenic drives in North America. It offers a fascinating tour through the middle of a huge lava flow that is surrounded on both sides by touring Cascade Mountain peaks. There are tons of short hikes and explorations that can be accessed from the road over McKenzie Pass. After the highway closes in late autumn, the McKenzie Pass area also becomes one of region’s premier biking destinations. For more information and photos, see our previous entries about McKenzie Pass or the McKenzie River.
8. Go hiking or biking on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls. Although many visitors know about Tumalo Falls, few people venture beyond the top of the first waterfall. The real secret about this area is that there are at least another half-dozen impressive waterfalls hiding just a short ways up the trail. Hikers usually make the trip as an out-and-back adventure. Bikers are allowed only on the uphill section of the trail, so if you’re on a bike, continue past the last waterfall at the 3.5 mile mark, ride through the wide open Happy Valley and then cross over the stream to your right. After crossing the stream, the path continues along a section of the Metolius-Windigo Trail before dropping back down to the parking lot on the opposite side of Tumalo Falls via the Farewell Bend Trail. The entire loop is about 11 miles. For more information and photos from the Tumalo Falls area, see our previous entry.
9. Go fly fishing at one of Central Oregon’s many high alpine lakes or spring-fed streams. Central Oregon is blessed with a huge collection of high alpine lakes and spring-fed trout streams, which makes it a fisherman’s paradise. You could spend years visiting all of the lakes and streams hidden in the woods along the Cascade Lakes Highway, Santiam Pass, or McKenzie Pass, and never have to fish the same place twice. Grab your fly rod and go exploring. You know there’s a lunker waiting for you in the ripple.
10. Go for a drive over Santiam Pass. In autumn, the drive over Santiam Pass looks like something from a fairy tale. The windy, two-lane highway hugs the shoulder of the Santiam Rivers’ North Fork for many miles, and there is a splendid display of bright red vine maples nearly the entire way between summit of the pass (4,800 feet) and Detroit Lake (1,400 feet). This is definitely the route of choice if you’re coming to Central Oregon from Salem or Portland.
NOTE: Many of the activities above involve hiking or biking through our region’s National Forest areas. In autumn, it is important to remember that hikers and bikers are often sharing these areas with big-game hunters. As always, appropriate precautions and good common sense are highly recommended when venturing into the forest during hunting season.
To license these or any of our other stunning Central Oregon images, please visit our Oregon stock photos site, Pacific Crest Stock
Posted by Troy McMullin
As is usually the case I made a long list of fall color images that I wanted to capture this year and time flew, weather was uncooperative and I missed many of my dream shots but did get some Oregon fall color photos worthy of sharing. The following group photos have little to with one another aside from the fact that they are all from Central Oregon’s High Desert vicinity. In general, I didn’t find this fall color season to be remarkable. The early snows dampened expectations but some late color did burst out, especially in the riparian areas of lower elevation. The first group of photos is from a location where I’ve never gotten any worthy images and frankly This fall offered the best color I’ve ever seen along the Crooked River. These images are from the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint, which is located where Highway 97 crosses the Crooked River North of Terrebonne, Oregon.
According to my keen recollection of American History(and the big sign in the parking lot) Peter Skene Ogden was working for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825 when he led the first recorded journey into the Crooked River Basin not far from the current Crooked River Bridge. I presume that is why this viewpoint is named after Ogden rather than something catchy like “Pacific crest Stock Scenic Viewpoint”! The yellow fall colors were more vibrant than I’ve ever seen in this location and the reds weren’t bad either! The rock pattern also helps with this otherwise simple image. Facing in the opposite direction and downstream, the Crooked River Canyon carves a deep serpentine path through 300 foot tall basalt cliffs. Some great clouds, the distant Black Butte, and the previously mentoned fall color make this a worthy photograph.
Looking back upstream from the same Crooked River Bridge which is closed to cars but open to people( this made me nervous at first!) One sees the obvious yet attractive Rex T. Barber Memorial Bridge. Rex was something of a Hero during world War II. He was born in nearby Culver, Oregon and was drafted into World War II. Rex T. Barber was an ace fighter pilot who is widely credited with shooting down and killing Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto who was the planner of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor thereby initiating WWII. In other words, Rex really was a hero. Rex served in the military for 20 years and after a very successful stint flying P-38 lightnings, he was eventually shot down over China. He survived the crash and five weeks later he was escorted back to allied forces by Chinese civilians. Rex returned to Central Oregon after the war where he was an insurance agent, judge, mayor of Culver and a huge civic booster. I don’t usually get moved by these Memorial plaque tales by this one really was somewhat touching to me. I also am hesistant to include man made objects in my landscape photographs, but for Rex T. Barber I’ll make an exception. Below is the handsome Rex T. Barber Memorial Bridge high above the Crooked River canyon and it’s luminous fall color.
Another High desert Photography favorite , Smith Rock State Park also had some great fall color this year. Below is an attractive sunrise casting a delicate pink glow on one of the main rock formations at Smith Rock. It may not be as stunning as Troy’s sunset image from this same location found in this blog entry Smith Rock Photos but the delicate predawn light works well with the fall color in the riparian areas at the base of Smith Rock’s massive rock formations.
Slightly to the North of this scene lies the famed Morning Glory wall and “the Dihedrals”, favorites of rock climbers around the world. I’ve been to the morning glory wall area many times but I’ve struggled with lighting there. The following image of the Morning Glory Wall and the dihedrals with fall color and cumulous clouds makes for a good stock photo.
On the same pleasantly cloudy day I shifted over a touch and took an obligatory photograph from the main viewpoint at Smith Rock State Park. Normally I avoid this spot as it is a bit cliched but I couldn’t resist because of the great clouds that were floating above the scene.
Finally We’ll leave Smith Rock behind after one more image. This rock formation is referred to as “the Monument” Stunningly vertical, is calls to some like no other rock formation in Central Oregon. I merely think of it as the scene that launched a thousand psychiatric evaluations for my Pacific Crest partner, Troy. To learn more about Troy’s struggles, visit this previous blog entry. Smith Rock Photo phychosis. It’s a good shot but mostly I included this image in this particular blog entry in an effort to torture Troy. He’ll be back at the monument later today nervously composing scenes and incoherently mumbling to himself like Milton in the classic movie, “Office Space”.
I’ve included this next and final photo of aspen trees with some great color not so much because I love the image but because I felt obligated to mention it. I’ve been there so many times that it feels like a distant cousin who I feel obligated to invite to Thanksgiving dinner because they live two blocks away. Anyway, here are my distant cousin aspen trees!
If any of our blog readers have fall color suggestions for next year please let us know. For some of our other fall color images, please visit our main Pacific Crest website by following the following link Pacific Crest Images . Thanks for visiting our photo blog!
All the Best,
This autumn, Central Oregon has had some of the craziest weather patterns that I have ever seen.In just a few days, we went from sweating in 90 degree heat to sweating while shoveling 6 inches of fresh snow.That huge early season snow storm was quickly followed by even bigger thunderstorms (which are unusual for this region), and then finally, we made it back to our typical sunny, 70 degree days and cool, clear nights.All of that rapidly-changing weather wreaked havoc on my fall-time photography plans for a while there, but things seem to be settling down now, and I was recently able to get out and do some exploring around the McKenzie Pass and Proxy Falls areas.
For those who aren’t familiar with McKenzie Pass, it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the lower 48 states.The narrow winding two-lane road follows an old wagon route through an ancient 65-square-mile lava flow with up close views of the Three Sisters Mountains, Mount Washington, and Belknap Crater before finally plummeting 1,200 vertical feet through a series of paved switchbacks and past a number of stunning waterfalls.My morning drive over McKenzie Pass was a bit too sunny to allow for good waterfall photography, so I decided to take a pit-stop at one of the high alpine lakes to do some fly fishing.
After an hour or so of fishing my way around the shoreline, I noticed that a good collection of clouds had started rolling in, so I got back in the Jeep and continued down the highway with the hopes of hiking into the waterfalls above Linton Lake.The hike into Linton Lake was bursting with color, but unfortunately the creeks feeding the lake were swollen from our recent snowmelt, which made the unmarked hike to the falls much more difficult than I had anticipated.I could have crossed the knee-deep creeks and made it to the waterfalls, but in the end, I thought it might be best if I saved that adventure for a different day.
As I was hiking out from Linton Lake, I remembered that the Proxy Falls Loop was just a few miles down the road.The Proxy Falls Loop is an easy 1-mile loop that crosses a fiery-red, vine-maple-laden lava flow and then passes through a great old-growth rainforest featuring two spectacular waterfalls that plunge over towering moss-covered cliffs.Upper Proxy Falls drops about 100-feet into a shallow pool that oddly enough has no outlet stream.The water cascades into the pool and then percolates its way down through the underlying lava beds.It’s a very odd sight.
As if Upper Proxy Falls wasn’t enough of a destination by itself, the other waterfall on the loop (Lower Proxy Falls) is even better.Lower Proxy Falls streams its way down a 200-foot glacier-carved cliff, spreading out into a collection of silky bands along the way.This is the type of waterfall that landscape photographers dream about.
To see some beautiful fine art Photos of Proxy Falls, please visit Bend,Oregon landscape photographer, Mike Putnam’s website. Proxy Falls Photos.
Lower Proxy Falls is a real jaw-dropper when you’re standing below it, but honestly, I have yet to see a photograph that really does justice to its mammoth size.It’s hard to fight the temptation to photograph the waterfall from its base (as I did above), but that vantage point has a way of fore-shortening the actual drop.After taking the photo above, I decided to try to a new angle and photograph the falls from the side.In the photograph below, you can see that Lower Proxy Falls absolutely dwarfs me standing there in the lower right corner. I feel like this perspective finally begins to capture the size of the waterfall.This is definitely one of my new favorite photographs from the year, and I’m really, really hoping that our good friends who publish the local tourism guides will eventually feel the same way J
After leaving the Proxy Falls Loop, I drove a few more miles and then parked my Jeep and jumped on my mountain bike for a quick ride along the McKenzie River Trail.There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe the way I feel about the McKenzie River Trail, but suffice it to say that I think this is probably one of the best mountain biking trails in the entire world.OK, I might be stretching it a bit there, but honestly, if you live in the area, you have to go ride the McKenzie River Trail at least once in your life.It is just about the most scenic ride you could ever hope for, especially in mid-to-late October when the riverbed and forest are overflowing with red, orange, and yellow leaves.Just be careful though because it’s also a very technical ride, especially when the lava rocks and roots are wet and slippery.
I stopped by the McKenzie River Trail because I was hoping to capture some mountain bike photos along the way.Unfortunately, the sun was beginning to set low on the horizon by the time I arrived and there was very little light making its way onto the heavily forested trail.Since the lighting conditions weren’t cooperating with my plans, I just sat back and enjoyed an epic ride and another epic end to a wonderful day in Central Oregon.Mountains, lakes, lava flows, rivers, rainforests and waterfalls all surrounded in awesome fall color and all just a short drive from home.Are you kidding me?How lucky are we?
Posted by Troy McMullin.
NOTE: These photos and hundreds more are available for licensing from Pacific Crest Stock Photography.
The shoulder season between Summer and autumn is often a source of frustration for photographers in Central Oregon. Alpine flowers are brown and dead, and fall color is yet to explode. Flat gray skies often highlight an unattractive lifeless environment. The first breaths of autumn always enliven a landscape photographer’ s soul. One of the locations where I often find these first breaths of autumn is along the Cascades Lake Highway southwest of Bend, Oregon.
Sparks Lake and its high elevation and its good southern exposure helps alpine ground cover to ripen to the height of its fall glory a bit earlier than the lower elevation hotspots such as the Metolius Basin, the McKenzie River area and the riparian areas along the Deschutes River. For a small collection of photos from the Metolius River basin, visit this link. Metolius River Photos
Any pre-sunrise visit to Cascade Lakes area should start with a visit to the Ray Atkeson memorial viewpoint along Sparks Lake’s shore. A visit to this location is something of a pilgrimage to a magical landascape photography location. The lake’s surface isn’t always a glassy and reflective as it was in the picture seen above, but you never know if you are going to see the light show of a lifetime and there is no better place to seen it from than Sparks Lake. While the photo seen above doesn’t have any fall color in it, it is somewhat typical of autumn in that there is fresh snow on our Central Oregon mountains.
After the pastel colors of this brief light show had faded, I packed up and went to a different area of Sparks Lake for an entirely different perspective and hopefully some fall color.
While scouting for a sunrise shot I peered down to capture the above image of frost covered alpine foliage. I like how the frosty leaves add detail and texture to the interesting and colorful autumn foliage. Eventually after some extensive frosty scouting and a frightening realization, I set up the shot below. The realization is that hunting is allowed along the shores of Sparks Lake. It strikes me as odd. Sparks is essentially a playground for the city of Bend and hunting is allowed. I recognize that hunting is a popular activity and it should be allowable on public lands, but Sparks Lake? Regardless hunters were blasting ducks out of the air no more than 100 yards from me and a parking lot along the busy Cascade Lakes Highway.
They are subtle but hopefully you can notice the hints of frost covered fall color in the foreground of this image. The stream channels help to break up the foreground and the sunburst adds an extra element for the attractive background of Mt. Bachelor.
Fall color won’t last long in the Cascade Lakes area near Sparks Lake so hurry and take a hike before the snows cover this beautiful alpine area for the rest of the season. for some attractive summer photos of Sparks Lake please visit the following link Sparks Lake Photos.
For more beautiful Central Oregon Photos, please visit our main site at Pacific Crest Stock Photography
Thanks for visiting,
For Oregon landscape photographers like Troy McMullin and I here at Pacific Crest Stock Photography there is a frustrating shoulder season during which the forces of nature conspire against us. The alpine flowers are brown and dead, fall color has not yet arrived and our beloved Central Oregon Cascades are largely devoid of snow. This combination is a virtual trifecta of photographic frustration. We eagerly await fall color to arrive and with a strong dose of good fortune, Alpine snows will arrive simultaneously. My natural optimism leads to nightly weather analysis. Will it be cold enough to snow in the mountains? Will there be so much snow that I can’t get to the trail head? These issues occupy an unhealthy percentage of my time. My wife can attest to this! Below is a primer image for you to enjoy while you wade through my story?
Recent weather patterns turned for the better and I saw a window of opportunity to capture an elusive oregon landscape photo that I have pursued for years. That night I began my planning process for the next morning. Winter gear for warmth, loading too much photography gear, GPS, headlamps, rain gear, hiking boots, gas up my truck, set the coffee machine timer to 4:30 AM. The list of preparatory activities was less than exciting. While going through my night before check list, I was listening to an IPod mix with the following song on it, Country Music Promoter-OX(the play button is in the upper right hand corner of the page) It is a great song about the hard-scrabble life of a country music promoter. Coffee, trucks, bad hours, lots of travel. The song distinctly reminded me of the less than glamorous but rewarding job of being an Oregon Landscape photographer. While I don’t pinch waitresses like the promoter in the song does, the feeling of the song is what is familiar. Hard dirty work doing a job that you love. Not a bad combination but it is arguably less than glamorous, and it truly is work. Don’t get me wrong, life as a landscape photographer takes me to some beautiful places, like the one seen in this blog entry but sadly it is more than that. The above image of Mt. Washington is one I am truly excited about. Fresh snow, great fall color, interesting clouds, nice warm sunrise light and an awesome mountain make me very optimistic about this landscape photo.
This particular lake is very hard to get to, requiring a long bushwack through thick and in this case wet undergrowth to get it. Actually getting the shot makes it all worth while, perhaps like when a show really goes well for a Country Music Promoter. I have to thank Old Mike for accompanying me on this outing. His company and sherpa like load carrying capacity were both a big help on this backcountry adventure. Below is a slight rewind in that it was actually the first shot of the morning but I did want to get credit for reaching this spot in time for sunrise!
The light on Mount Washington was beautiful and the lake had a appealing mist rising off of its surface but unfortunately, it was too windy for any real reflection. Frustrating. With time and help from the warming sun, the scene enlivened and the wind even died down allowing me a few images like the following one with a nice alpine reflection of Oregon’s Mt. Washington.
I was in my own world during the height of that morning’s light shown not noticing what Old Mike what up to. Evidently he was busy taking photos of me while I was taking photos of Mount Washington. Below is a cool image that he took with me and my large format camera silhouetted against the lake’s shore. I really like the use of contrast and the swirling mist in the background. Thanks Old Mike!
I’m no model but I do like the shot and the memory of a great morning, Kind of like when the show really goes well for the Country Music Promoter!
Eventually the light show harshened making the scene less attractive and the glorious part of my day was over. I gathered my gear after my photographic flurry and Old Mike and I made a long wet inglorious bushwack through dense Cascade undergrowth. Not he most glamorous part of the day but it was hard work worth doing.
A special thanks goes to Pacific Crest’s very own Troy McMullin for allowing me to pirate this scene and hopefully capture the next great Oregon fine art photograph. To see some more work done with my Large Format Camera, visit the following link Oregon Fine Art Photos. Troy, I’ll buy you a beer!
The images from this blog entry and all of our Oregon stock photos can be viewed and licensed through our stock photo website, Pacific Crest Stock
Thanks for Visiting,
I will be celebrating the 24-month anniversary of my 39th birthday in the coming days. Reflecting on this past year reminded me of last year’s big birthday bash when our families and friends threw a surprise party for Mike Putnam (who also turned 40) and me. Looking back now, there were numerous hints that should have clued me in to the fact that everyone around me was planning a party, but like a pawn in a game, I just went blindly through the day enjoying what I thought was a routine day in the life of a lucky man.
For example, I remember waking up that morning and having Julie (my wife) encourage me to go take some photographs. Now bless her heart, my wife has always been very supportive of my photography hobby/habit, but on this particular day, she actually seemed to be pushing me out of the door. That should have been my first clue that something strange was happening, but to be honest, it never even dawned on me. Instead, I hurriedly packed up my camera gear and headed out of the house before she could change her mind. I didn’t even know where I was going when I left the house. I just knew that Julie was giving me a hall pass, and that I wasn’t about to pass that up. Within a few minutes of pulling out of the driveway, I decided that I would drive south to see if there was any fall color around Salt Creek Falls, which at almost 300-feet tall, is the second tallest waterfall in Oregon.
When I first arrived at Salt Creek Falls, the sun was shining through the trees and directly into my eyes. Shooting waterfalls on sunny days is not exactly ideal photography conditions, and having the sun pointed directly into the lens of the camera is about as bad as it gets, so rather than setting up the camera, I decided to scout around the area for awhile in hopes that some clouds would eventually roll in. I fought my way through a thicket of dense trees and found a good location along the slope at the bottom of Salt Creek Falls, but every time that the sun would move behind a cloud, a small breeze would blow up from the base of the waterfall and shake all of the leaves in my foreground (which makes them appear blurry in timed-release waterfall photographs). I played this little game with the sun and wind for more than hour before finally deciding that this just wasn’t my day, and that it would probably be better for me to start heading back home so that I could help my wife with our kids. I hiked out of the woods and started driving over Willamette Pass when I realized that I had lost my sunglasses somewhere along the way. Then, as I was mentally re-tracing my steps, I remembered that I had actually lost my sunglasses the week before at the coast, which meant that today, I had actually managed to lose my WIFE’S sunglasses!
I called Julie and explained that I was going to be running later than expected because I needed to backtrack to find her sunglasses. Julie seemed almost relieved to hear the news, and she encouraged me to take as much time as I needed. That should have been my second clue that something strange was happening, but I didn’t get it because at the time, I was just feeling kind of bad for losing her sunglasses, and my mind was frantically trying to piece together all of the places that I had gone that day. I turned the Jeep around and started driving back toward the trailhead. I wasn’t exactly sure where Julie’s sunglasses might be, but I figured they were probably laying somewhere on that steep slippery slope near the base of the waterfall. I fought my way through the trees again, and as I popped out onto the slope, I noticed that the lighting conditions had improved considerably since I was there earlier in the day. A thick fog bank had moved into the valley, which created nice soft light on the foreground and waterfall. I quickly set up my tripod and composed a few shots. Then I looked down at my feet, and saw that I was standing about 4 feet away from a nice shiny black pair of Oakley’s. Sweet! I re-packed the camera and stuffed the sunglasses inside my backpack and then hiked back up to the parking lot at the top of Salt Creek Falls.
When I got home, Julie told me that Jake Bell (one my best friends) had called to see if I wanted to go have a few beers at Deschutes Brewery and then go back to his house to watch a football game. Apparently, two other good friends (Mike Putnam, My partner in Pacific Crest Stock and Max Reitz) had already agreed to go and Julie had told them that it was OK for me to go along too. I told Julie that it was nice for her to let me go, but that I didn’t really feel the need to go, especially since she already let me have the whole day off for picture-taking. I told her that I would be more than happy to watch the kids for awhile if she wanted to take a break, but she insisted that it was alright with her—and since I’ve never been one to turn down a little beer and football, off I went . . . completely clueless again.
At the pub that night, I learned that Max (who lives in Hood River) and Mike had spent all day hiking around Three Fingered Jack. We had a couple of beers and shared some photography stories, and all the while, Jake kept looking at his watch. Jake seemed nervous as a cat, and he kept prodding us along so that we could get up to his house before the game started. At one point, Mike left the table and Max asked Jake what time we all needed to be up at his house. I had just lifted my pint glass to take another drink, but out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jake immediately making some sort of awkward hand gestures to Max. Again, that probably should have been a clue . . . . but it wasn’t, at least at the time.
When Mike got back, Jake and Max immediately herded us out of the door and up to Jake’s house. Jake pulled into his driveway, and then he got out of the truck and started acting like he was getting something out of the back, knowing full well that Mike and I wouldn’t wait or offer to help him, but that instead we would head directly for his front door (and his fridge) and make ourselves at home. When Mike and I opened Jake’s door, we were immediately greeted with a big “Surprise!” . . . and then whole day began to a make a little more sense.
Posted by Troy McMullin
For those of you who haven’t already visited Broken Top via the Broken Top Trail, shame on you! It is stunning, has wonderfully varied terrain, and is right in your backyard if you are a Central Oregon resident. It is truly one of the great alpine playgrounds in Oregon. The Broken Top Trail starts high and offers a very mountainous experience with relatively little suffering. Perhaps the most difficult part about this hike is actually driving there. The famous forest service road number 370 is rugged, narrow and long. It is no place for passenger cars and takes a good 25 minute drive beyond the Todd Lake trail head. For a more detailed trail description of the Broken Top Trail, visit the following link. Broken Top Trail
The following Photograph is the kind that keeps me re-visiting Broken Top year after year. I captured this photo with my 4×5 camera two years ago and
the wildflowers were not as spectacular this year. There were plenty of other worthy spots that I found along the Broken Top Trail this summer. Because the flowers in Broken Top’s lower canyon were not optimal, I visited the upper crater, an arduous hike and caught the next two images.
This image and the next were both captured during an overnight backpacking trip I took with Debbie and Emma, who loved playing in the small streams that wind through Broken Top’s lower crater. The following image is of Mt. Bachelor as seen from Broken Top’s upper crater at sunset.
The lunar landscape in Broken Top’s upper crater make it well worth the strenuous climb to get there. Small streams emanating from the Crook glacier provide moisture for late blooming wildflowers.
Another favorite area along the Broken Top trail is “N0-Name Lake” which is located on Broken Top’s Northern slope. The lake holds ice bergs all summer and is a remarkable turquoise color. The glacier made basin which holds the lake also has an interesting array of late blooming wildflowers such as the red Indian Paintbrush seen in the following image I recently captured at sunrise.
East of the location where I shot the above photo is the outflow stream for No-Name Lake. Because of prominent wind patterns, this end of the lake often holds large ice bergs throughout the summer. Below is a photograph of Broken Top’s pinnacles and the icy No-Name Lake as seen from that corner of the Lake.
The following images of Mt. Bachelor were also taken from along the Broken Top Trail and they are a strong testament to alpine change. I’m consistently impressed by how quickly flower groupings change from one year to the next. These two photos of Mt. Bachelor were taken from approximately the same location but two years apart. Note the huge variation in flower varieties.
Regardless of whether you are a photographer or not, it is hard to argue with the belief that the Broken Top Trail area is an amazing area for exploration. If you are a hiker,backpacker, or trail runner, you might be interested in the more detailed trail description found at the following link. Broken Top Trail
Thanks For Visiting,
One half of the Pacific Crest Stock Photography team, Mike Putnam, will be displaying his work at Pandora’s Backpack in Downtown Bend, Oregon tonight, Friday September 4th. The First Friday Art walks in Central Oregon tend to start at 5PM and quiet down by 9PM. Pandora’s Backpack is located at 920 NW Bond St, in the St. Clair Building. Mike has had a running display of his work for several years now at Pandora’s Backpack, which is a Patagonia concept store. They offer almost a complete line of Patagonia clothing in a beautiful surrounding.
Mike will have lots of his work displayed there and collectors will also get a chance to examine Mike’s hand made cherry wood frames which are utilized on all of the fine art prints that will be displayed At Patagonia tonight. Below is a picture of one of my framed images ready for sale that will be present at Pandora’s Backpack tonight.
the above fine art Photograph of Central Oregon’s Broken Top Mountain can be yours(I’m not selling the photos of my daughter or the wooden elephant!) if you just stop by Pandora’s Backpack tonight between 5pm and 9pm at 920 NW Bond St in wonderful downtown Bend, Oregon.
I’d like to note that Ultrarunner extraordinaire, and Pandora’s Backpack owner, Rod Bien(and his talented staff-Love Ya Mo) has been very accommodating to me during these First Friday Art Walks and it might also be helpful if you stopped in and bought a fleece jacket or a pair of socks. Stimulate the economy!
For those of you who are photo enthusiasts with a sense of history and an appreciation of craftsmanship, I’ll also have my 4×5 large format camera on display. It is the exact camera that I used to capture every image that will be on display at the show tonight. Below is a photo of my camera affectionately know as the “Big Rig”. It is a Wista 4×5 cherry wood camera with all brass fittings. It really is art in and of itself!
There are very few Oregon Landscape Photographers who still use these large format cameras any more. Please come visit and I’ll tell you why I still use mine.
In addition to fine art photography, there should be some top notch wines available tonight. Rod Bien, family man, gifted endurance runner, retail guru, and all around great guy is also quite the wine aficionado of fine wines. I’d expect some world class chardonnays from the Bien cellars to be available tonight. Yet another reason to visit Pandora’s Backpack tonight for the First Friday Art Walk.
I hope to see you there!
We quickly covered the two miles into the Lower Canyon Creek Meadow despite the many down lodgepole pines on the trail. Sadly, this will probably be a recurring theme on this specific trail because of the recent fires and because of the mountain pine beetles which are devastating pine forests across the western United States. We spent the night at the Lower Canyon Creek Meadow which was overflowing with wildflowers and has a couple beautiful streams flowing through it. I spent most of the evening scouting in the upper meadow for the shots I’d work on the next morning. I returned in time for the best freeze dried dinner(aren’t all meals in the backcountry the best ever?) It was Chili Mac with beef made by Mountain House. Delicious! Fortunately, I also returned to the Lower Canyon Creek Meadow for a stunning sunset which is pictured below.
Landscape photography was unrewarding the next morning because of the heavily overcast skies and the very flat light. It’s the curse of the Oregon Landscape Photographer. Great effort combined with poor light is a frustrating. It was also very windy, making it impossible to shoot any of the amazing flower scenes in the upper meadow. As the photography conditions were poor, the day was dedicated to family. We moved to a great campsite in area of the Upper Canyon Creek Meadow(but not in the meadow) and spent most of the day playing in the frigid waters of Canyon Creek. Below is a picture of Emma balancing above Canyon Creek, an activity that entertained her for hours.
Between the activities of balance beam competitions, chasing frogs, swatting mosquitoes, and lounging in the Alpine glory of Three Fingered Jack, the day quickly passed. The next morning started a little windy and overcast, but the clouds blew over and the wind died down making for a landscape photographer’s nirvana. Amazing wildflowers at their seasonal peak with the awesome backdrop of the towering Three Fingered Jack. Below are a few of the Landscape photos I captured that morning.
I shot the above scene extensively with my large format camera in hopes of capturing a winning fine art print. To see some of my finished large format photographs from this trip to Three fingered Jack hike Canyon Creek Meadow. The film isn’t finished developing but I’m optimistic! The Following scene, was a little simpler, but no less rewarding because of its interesting clouds, excellent textures, colors, and impact.
I took dozens of other photos of the amazing lupine meadows in the Upper Meadow. If you are interested in seeing more of those images, please visit my personal website by visiting, Bend, Oregon Photographer. After I finished photographing the Upper Meadow, we reluctantly packed up camp and headed for home in Bend, Oregon. Below is one last photo of our little family leaving our camp site and hiking back home.
The Canyon Creek Meadows are not always as flower filled as they were this year, but they are always a beautiful destination. If you care to backpack into this wonderful alpine basin, please respect the meadow and wildflowers and do not camp directly in the meadows as they are very fragile and will quickly perish with the pressure of camping. Instead camp in the hills located east of the upper meadow or in the Lower Meadow of Canyon Creek. To view another more recent photograph of Three Fingered Jack, captured in autumn, visit, Three Fingered Jack.
If you are interested in licensing any of the images in this blog entry, or you would like to see more images from Canyon Creek Meadows, please contact us through our Pacific Crest Stock Website.
Thanks For Visiting,
By: Mike Putnam
We at Pacific Crest Stock have always considered ourselves fortunate to live in Central Oregon where it is beautiful and where there is immense environmental diversity. From the badlands east of Bend to the rainforests west of Bend with old growth Ponderosa forests and snow capped volcanoes in between. Bend, Oregon is on the edge of the high desert which is considered to extend from the Cascade Mountain Range to the Rocky Mountain Range. Perhaps, the important thing to remember is that we are on the edge of the high desert and not in the middle of it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have huge trees and many waterfalls near our fair city. We had lots of hits on our website looking for waterfalls and specifically waterfalls of Central Oregon, so finally we’re going to give a little information and several photos of some of those waterfalls. We have great photographs of some of these waterfalls and others, well, we know we need to go back to at some point! Arguably, the foremost waterfall in the minds of most Central Oregonians is the majestic Tumalo Falls. Tumalo Falls is no stranger to visitors and it shouldn’t be as it is quite awe inspiring and very visitor friendly. Located only 10 miles west of Bend, on Skyliners road which is a westward extension of Galveston Road.
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In the winter, the road to Tumalo Falls is closed for the last 2.5 miles and a snow park is located at the closure. In Summer, the road is open all the way to the falls where there is parking, a restroom, and some informational kiosks about the 1979 Bridge Creek Fire which raged through the area. Additionally, Bend’s famed water source Bridge Creek, is nearby.
This photo of Tumalo Falls was taken in autumn several years ago during a driving rain at the height of fall color. In other words, don’t expect the Tumalo Falls area to be this colorful when you visit, because in the hundreds of times I’ve visited it’s only looked this good once! Below is another photo of Tumalo Falls that I captured in summer requiring a long exposure and a total absence of wind in order to keep the purple lupines in the foreground from fluttering about.
I re-visited this site this summer and noticed that most of the purple lupine in this photo have been replaced by native grasses which is too bad for photography purposes. Tumalo has several possible name derivations, one of which is from the Klamath Indian word “Tumallowa” meaning icy water. This is appropriate as Tumalo Creek is largely composed of glacial melt from high off of the Central Oregon Cascade Range. This waterfall has one 97 foot drop and two great viewing points. The lower view point is obvious but the upper viewpoint is a real gem as it gives a real sense of the flow and power of this particular waterfall, making it worth the short 1/4 mile climb to the top of the falls.
Below is an image of Bridge Creek Falls which is located near to Tumalo Falls and is along the aptly named Bridge Creek Trail.
The following waterfall, “Double Falls” is located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek. It is one of many attractive waterfalls that are upstream of the the more well known Tumalo Falls. Double Falls is located about 1.25 miles up stream along the North Fork Trail which for Mt. Biking purposes is up hill only. It is a relatively easy hike but beware of mosquitoes in summer.
If you continue hiking or biking uphill on the North Fork Trail for 3.5 miles, you will pass several other impressive waterfalls. The next waterfall is about a mile above Double Falls. You will then cross a bridge about half-mile later, at which point you almost get bombarded with waterfalls. There are least 5 more waterfalls within a half-mile of the bridge. Keep hiking because the last waterfall is probably the best.
We plan on some more waterfall blog entries in the near future so stay tuned! If you have an interest in licensing these or any of our other Central Oregon waterfall images, please visit our stock photography website at Pacific Crest Stock.
by Mike Putnam
This blog entry is more of a public service announcement than an overwhelming show of photographic talent. My daughter, Emma, and I recently hiked the Flatirons Rock Trail in the proposed Badlands Wilderness area located about 16 miles East of Bend, Oregon and desert wildflowers there are about as good as I’ve ever seen them. It is a perfect time for a hike in the Badlands so that you can appreciate how beautiful of an area it is. Local groups, including the good people at ONDA-Oregon Natural Desert Association have done an immense amount of work to establish this wonderful place as a fully protected wilderness area.
It is my opinion that this special area of Central Oregon should be protected as soon as possible. Lots of good reasons back up my opinion on this issue, including: 1. It is beautiful and accessible for a huge portion of the year as it’s desert climate usually keeps this area free of snow in the winter when alpine trails are only available to hardcore backcountry skiers. 2. A huge majority of the residents of Bend and Central Oregon support the idea of this area becoming an official Wilderness Area. 3. This area is much better protected now that it is a proposed wilderness area than it probably was previously. I’ve spent lots of time in many of the desert areas around Bend, Oregon, mostly scouting for stock photos. Virtually everywhere in the desert areas I’ve been to, with the exception of the Badlands study area, I’ve been shocked by the amount of garbage that has been dumped randomly around these otherwise beautiful areas. I’m of the opinion that garbage begets more garbage. When a place becomes downtrodden with debris, a misconception develops that it is OK to litter and otherwise pollute in that area. I don’t know how the Badlands study area looked 15 years ago, but is virtually free of any sort of debris currently and I do know how non-study desert areas look today, and it’s not good.
If establishing any desert area as preserves it as well as the Badlands area has been, then I am in favor of the protection. I won’t go into the nuances of what activities are restricted and which are not in Wilderness areas but I will say that wilderness areas are open to all people but not necessarily all uses, which is more than fair.
The entire sixish mile long loop trail to flatiron rock was decorated with pockets of color like the wildflowers shown above, which I think are some sort of desert aster. There were also countless old growth juniper trees along the trail. Their ancient and severe form exude character and determination. Their ability to defy time and the harsh high desert climate in the Oregon desert should earn them the respect of any in tune naturalist. I’ve heard that some of the older juniper trees in this area are over 1,000 years old. Amazing!
As the desert is a…..desert, you’ll want to bring sunblock and water and snacks for the family. As summer is beginning to heat up, I’d also recommend you plan your trips in the morning or evening as your hiking will be a bit more pleasant if you can avoid the mid-day heat. The following photo is of a wildflower that I believe is called a “phacelia” which has beautiful lavender colored blooms and like many of the desert wildflowers, it has a very short blooms season, so go for a hike soon if you want to see the phacelia in bloom this year.
This pretty little flower fades from lavender to a lighter lavender to a light green on the inside of the bloom and it has a pleasing glow about it, making it one of my favorite desert wildflowers. The following flowers in the foreground of a classic desert scene are desert monkeyflowers. Their rich pink blooms with yellow centers provide a striking display of color in what would otherwise be an earth-toned palette along the Flatiron trail. This appears to be a great year for monkeyflowers in the Oregon high desert.
In the mid-ground of the above high desert photo are some yellow flowers which are shown in the following photo.
The above flowers, “Oregon Sunshine” are some of the happiest flowers anywhere. In years of high spring precipitation, like this one, they can almost form mats of cheerful yellow flowers. They are another of the bonuses found along the Flatiron trail if you can get there soon. The next to last image in this blog entry Taken in the Flatiron rock formation is of my favorite photo model and hiking, partner, Emma, who also happens to be my daughter! She was a wonderful companion throughout the hike, as she always is. She was also very patient with my photographic habits. All these traits plus she makes me smile everyday, make me feel very lucky.
I should mention that the brief hike to the top of the Flatiron rock formation is well worth the extra effort as the views of the Central Oregon Cascades over the high desert are stunning.
The take home message from this story is that if you live in Central Oregon, now is a great time to experience the beauty of the the proposed Badlands Wilderness area east of Bend, Oregon. The wildflowers won’t last long so get out soon and when you return from your desert adventure, contact your senator and tell them that The Badlands should be permanently protected as a fully designated Wilderness area! For more info regarding the Badlands, please visit ONDA’s website.
For more photos of the beautiful desert areas of Central Oregon, please visit our main stock photo website, Pacific Crest Stock by clicking the following link….High Desert photos.
Thanks for visiting,
I’ve often struggled with photos of our very own Three Sisters Mountains. Although they form the dominant and very scenic backdrop for the city of Bend and the Central Oregon area, I’ve found it difficult to make more of a thin panoramic out of this iconic Central Oregon Photo subject. A friend, Veronica, recently tipped me off that there were some nice lupines blooming along the shores of Tumalo Reservoir. I immediately took a drive there and she was certainly correct. I would like to thank her for the tip and if any of you readers have any other given locations that are particularly stunning, please let us know so we can quickly take a visit.
As you can see, the view of the Three Sisters is pretty stunning from this area of Central Oregon and the flowers aren’t bad either. As these are desert lupines, they are a bit small, but very attractive. There is some great hiking and horse back riding in this area and there’s no better time than now, before the trails get too dry and dusty, as they will later in the summer. Next up is an image from the bridge at the east end of Tumalo reservoir. My timing was good on this shot, in that there was some very attractive pre-dawn light filling the scene, and the shrubs in the foreground add some form and texture to the scene.
I’ve been to Tumalo Reservoir countless times but I’ve not seen a pre-dawn sky so pink and pleasant before. In the following image, you’ll seen a solitary grouping of yellow flowers which have a short but vibrant life along the banks of Tumalo Reservoir. After a bit of research, I’ve concluded that they are probably tansy leaved evening primrose. They are a small beautiful flower that will only be around for a short time before the harsh desert heat cooks the life out of them, so go visit them soon.
Finally is one last photo of our beloved Central Oregon volcanoes, the Three Sisters as seen with what I think are Tansy leaved evening primrose in the foreground. If any botanists are reading this blog entry and happen to know that I’ve mis-identified this flower, please contact me and let me know.
The above photo, another of the Three Sisters Mountains of Central Oregon, has nice balance between the floral foreground and the alpine background. All of the images in this blog entry and many others are available on our primary Stock Photography site, Pacific Crest Stock .
OK, I know that the title of this blog entry doesn’t totally make sense, but hopefully you get the idea. We’ve recently taken some new Smith Rock State Park Photos that I’m very proud of and we haven’t been able to find a simple way to fit them into our blogging schedule. These images haven’t ben shared with the public and therefore they’ve never been licensed and seen in print. I strongly suspect that you will soon see some of these images in local ad campaigns and tourism offerings as they are great pictures of a special and unique Central Oregon Location. First I’ll start with a couple of my images.
For quite some time now I’ve wanted to add a “Monkey Face” photo to my fine art print collection. The above image is definitely my best effort to date. I plan on printing it in a large format version and adding it to my fine art offerings. Mike’s Fine Art Prints I’ve seen hundreds of different Monkey face images but most offer washed out noonday light and plain blue skies. Those are fine for snap-shots but not for fine art prints or great stock images. I knew I wanted a shot with interesting clouds and warm late evening light. I also got the Crooked River in the scene as a bonus which adds another attractive element. The above image was captured with my large format 4×5 camera in hopes of making it into a fine art print. I also shot many other great images on that beautiful evening with my canon 5D camera. The following picture is a closer view of Monkey Face with some interesting cloud formations to liven up the scene.
On the enlarged version of this photo, you can actually see climbers in the mouth of “Money Face”. Cool! I like how my relatively wide angle lens slightly distorted the scene giving it an abstract feel. I also like how the hiking trail in the foreground leads the viewer to the base of Monkey face.
The following Smith Rock State Park picture was taken on a different evening but helps to show the diversity of our Smith Rock portfolio. I took the following shot at the end of a long photography day during which I chased clouds all over Central Oregon.
It may have been good fortune that allowed me to catch this scene with the colorful cloud formation hovering over Smith Rock’s summit but I certainly don’t mind being lucky! I’ve seen countless photos taken from the viewpoint at Smith Rock, most of which are uninspiring, but I couldn’t resist on this evening.
Now for the grand finale of our mini Smith Rock State Park tour. I’d like to give you a preview of what I predict will be the next great cover shot for the Central Oregon tourism industry. My good friend, Troy McMullin took the following outstanding Smith Rock State Park photo. I think it might be the best Smith Rock photo I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen thousands of them! I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t licensed for a cover shot in the very near future, and whoever licenses it will have the good fortune to associate themselves with this stunning image.
There are countless reasons why I think this image makes a great landscape photo but I’ll just cover a few of them. 1. Great subject matter. Smith Rock is veery recognizable and obviously stunning. 2. excellent composition. 3. lots of interesting elements including the impressive rock formation, awesome clouds, great color in the sky, the gently arcing Crooked River below and the distant South Sister to the left of the rock formation and Mt. Jefferson to the right. Wow! Like I mentioned, I’ll be very surprised if this image isn’t licensed in the near future. Please leave any comments in the comments section at the end of this entry, and don’t forget to tell your photo editor and graphic designer friends that you’ve just seen the next great Central Oregon cover shot! For some more great Smith Rock State Park Stock Photos, please visit our new Smith Rock gallery at Pacific Crest Stock.
Posted by Mike Putnam
I just made a trip down to the Visit Bend Office in downtown Bend, Oregon to pick up a copy of their new Bend, Oregon visitor’s guide. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, one of our photographs graces the cover of this year’s guide and the whole thing looks great! To visit the previous blog entry regarding the cover shot which is of Mt. Jefferson and a gorgeous meadow of alpine wildflowers high up in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness area please click here. Mt. Jefferson cover shot . A sincere thanks goes out to Doug, Lynnette, Laurel, and the rest of the team at Visit Bend for selecting our image for their cover shot and for being great people to work with during this project. They have all proven to be personable, efficient, and talented people to work with and to know. I also mentioned in a previous blog entry that this cover is a special honor because both Troy and myself are both such big boosters of Bend and the entire Central Oregon area. For people like us who love the outdoors, there is no finer place to live and to represent the area we love in some small way is a huge honor.
The Visit Bend offices are located at 917 NW Harriman St. in Downtown Bend Oregon. They are a great resource for information about the whole Central Oregon Area so stop by say hello to their friendly staff, view some of their beautiful art work (My Fine art prints are displayed there!) and grab a copy of their new bend area tourism guide with one of our Pacific Crest Stock images on the cover. We hope they are as excited about the cover as we are. Also you can visit their very attractive website at Visit Bend. to see more of our grat landscape images, please also visit our main stock photography site at Pacific Crest Stock. Thanks for visiting!
I have genuinely loved Bend and the Central Oregon area ever since moving here more than 10 years ago. I enjoy our Central Oregon mountains, the Deschutes River, the high desert, old growth ponderosas, Drake Park, the local trail systems, Downtown Bend, the restaurants, and the breweries (not necessarily in that order). The natural beauty of Central Oregon is what inspired me to take up photography on a professional level. To have so much geographical diversity in the same region is truly wondrous. My partner in Pacific Crest Stock, Troy, is also a big fan of Bend. Many friends have suggested that we should be on the payroll for the Bend Chamber of Commerce or one of the tourism boards because we are both such big boosters of Bend and the whole Central Oregon area.
When we first conceived of Pacific Crest Stock, we both thought it would be a tremendous honor to have one of our stock photos appear in one of the Central Oregon tourism publications because it would be an honor to represent the area in print. Well, with that thought in mind, we have a big announcement to make. It has recently been formalized and one of our landscape images will grace the cover of the Visit Bend‘s tourism publication, which is due to be released this spring. The exposure of having the cover shot will be great, the link on Visit Bend’s very attractive website which has been promised will certainly be helpful, but most of all, it is an honor to represent Bend and Central Oregon in a more formal way. Having met with Lynnette and Laurel at Visit Bend several times, I can confidently say that it is a well run, personable and efficient organization. Lynnette is clearly a skilled Web master, and graphic designer. She was courteous enough to provide me with the following image file, which will be the cover of their glossy magazine style publication.
Yeah that’s my Mt. Jefferson Photo and yeah I’m pretty excited!
Mt Jefferson is one of the most photogenic mountains anywhere and because it is visible from much of the city of Bend, it has long been one of my favorite photography destinations. This image, like most great images, required lots of work. I’ve been to Jefferson Park and the Mt Jefferson Wilderness many times before and have always been moved by its beauty, but. I had often been frustrated in that I always thought there was a shot I was missing in this beautiful area. The year I shot this photo, Troy and I went backpacking in the Jefferson Park area and we captured lots of good Stock photos including the following shot of Troy’s ,which is a fan favorite on Panoramio and Google Earth.
It is clearly a great shot. Mt Jefferson towering high above the mid-ground clouds with a stunning foreground of Troy’s favorite flower and the only one he knows the name of, the Red Indian Paintbrush. During our trip, we scouted and shot on and off trail from many different locations including the one that will serve as Visit Bend’s Cover shot. When we arrived at the “cover location” the light was harsh and the alpine wildflowers hadn’t quite peaked for the year but the location was clearly special and I knew I had to return in a few days so I did. To see more great Mount Jefferson images, please visit our stock site’s Mountain Gallery.
On my return trip, I made a day trip of the outing carrying my heavy pack nearly 10 miles and several thousand feet of vertical gain to the same location as a few days before. I quickly set up my tripod and my 4×5 camera and composed a beautiful scene at a stunning location when something unexpected happened. A small wisp of clouds appeared over Mount Jefferson’s summit and it gradually evolved into the awesome lenticular cloud cap that you see in my cover shot from that second day. The scene went from a great one to one of the best fine art landscape shots I’ve ever taken. It is one of my favorite images because Mount Jefferson’s amazing presence, the outstanding wildflower combinations (the equal of which I’ve yet to find in Oregon) and the mystical cloud cap which really brings the whole image together. I hiked out the last six miles with my headlamp beaming and my mind reeling with excitement about the great shots I’d just captured. Without the cloud cap it’s a great stock photo, but with the cloud cap, it becomes a great fine art print. So I worked hard and I got Lucky. I’ll take that combination any time!
My thanks go out to Lynette at Visit Bend for the image file and to my loving wife for letting me go out and take photos in places I love.
To view my fine art prints, including the soon to be cover shot, please visit my fine art site at Mike Putnam Photography where you’ll see this lucky Mt. Jefferson Photograph and many others.
This past weekend I took the family to one of my favorite day hiking and family-friendly areas, Camp Sherman and the Metolius River. We arrived in Camp Sherman hungry so we conveniently stopped at the Camp Sherman store which is a slice of rustic americana heaven. (They have some of the best lunch sandwiches you can find anywhere, piled high with ingredients of your choice). The setting is beautifully sylvan with large cinnamon barked ponderosa trees everywhere and quaint rustic cabins along the shores of the famed Metolius River which is one of the most attractive Rivers anywhere. It’s crystal blue-tinted waters emerge abruptly out of the ground at the appropriately named “Head of the Metolius River.” I’ve seen hundred of photos from the head of the Metolius, most of which are bad because the contrast is difficult to control there. The combination of a heavily wooded scene and exposed skies tend to play hell with a landscape photo. I didn’t even attempt a visit to the head of the Metolius due to time constraints.
We did manage a hike along the banks of Lake Creek in the Metolius Preserve, which is well managed by the Deschutes Land Trust. For more info about the Metolius preserve, it’s hiking trails and accessibility, please visit the Deschutes Land Trust’s website. Photography was poor on this day as the light was very flat, there was no real color to be found, and not enough snow to be interesting. Despite all of this the Metolius River basin still casts a magical spell. The towering ponderosa , fir and larch trees along pristine waters of the Metolius and its tributaries give the area a special feel. One of my favorite times of year to visit the Metolius is in the fall when the larch trees and vine maples are putting on their annual color display. The following photo of the Metolius River was taken several years ago with my 4×5 camera. That seemed to be an especially vibrant year for fall color along the Metolius.
A fine art print of this image of the Metolius River can be seen at the Bend Brewing Company in downtown Bend, Oregon. If you are in the area, stop by the brewery, check out my photography, and have a beer. The head brewmaster there, Tonya Cornett is exceptionally talented. She currently has a seasonal black IPA on tap which is very good and if you are lucky they will also have Hophead, an imperial IPA which has won multiple awards at the Great American Brewing Festival and the World Beer Cup, where she was named small brew pub brewmaster of the year. Hophead is a hop lovers dream.
After Debbie, Emma and I finished our hike at the Metolius Preserve, we drove down river to the Wizard Falls fish hatchery, where we fed the huge trout in their holding pond. Just before arriving at the fish hatchery, the road crosses the Metolius and immediately to your left is the famous Wizard Falls which is more of an attractive water feature than an intimidating waterfall. It’s composition is quite lovely and is has lured photographers and flyfishing enthusiasts from around the world to its beautuful blue waters. There is also a non-technical trail that crosses the road near the fish hatchery which offers pleasant hikes , especially in autumn. Below is a photograph of Wizard Falls in autumn as seen from the bridge to the Wizard Falls fish hatchery.
The above Wizard Falls image was taken the same year as the previous Metolius River photograph. As I mentioned, the Falls themselves aren’t necessarily spectacular but they are artistic, especially on a colorful fall day when the reds of vine maples are counter balanced by the turquoise blue of the Metolius. Further down stream are some other very photogenic locations that are a little more seasonal and difficult to find. Campgrounds that mostly cater to fly fishermen are spread for several miles along the river in the area of Camp Sherman. The following photograph of the Metolius River was taken downstream of Wizard Falls in the evening with my large format 4×5 camera.
I enjoy the gentle “S” curve of the river, the late evening sun in the background and the red bark of the ponderosa trees on the left side of the river. As the Metolius basin is truly a beautiful area, I always feel like there are more good stock and fine art photographs to be taken there. Even if the light is disappointing like my last visit, there is always enough beauty to stimulate my wife daughter and I.
If you are interested in seeing more stock photos of the Metolius River, please visit our website at Pacific Crest Stock.
If you interested in my fine art prints of the Metolius River, please visit Mike Putnam Photography
Posted by Mike Putnam
I was driving around the other day scouting for some new winter photographs and listening to my iPod when a song shuffled on by The Shaky Hands, one of my favorite local bands from Portland, Oregon. The song is called “Summer’s Life.” It is a happy little tune that leads off with simple strumming, some well-timed handclaps, and the following lyrics:
The summer’s life is good . . . We ran down on the path in the woods . . .
To that old swimming hole . . . where we laugh and sing . . . and stories are told.
We lived like children do . . . . kind . . . . and so brand new.
With my thumbs drumming along on the steering wheel, I started thinking back to last October when I hiked into Tamolitch Pool, perhaps the most scenic swimming hole in all of Oregon. It’s also the day that I met Jim Blanchard, an older retired photographer who was genuinely living a youthful “summer’s life.”
That day, I had checked online and saw that it was raining in the Willamette Valley. Knowing that the fall foliage always looks best when it’s saturated with rain, I loaded up my camera gear and headed over to the McKenzie highway hoping to get some new fall-time pictures. Mike Putnam and I usually make this trip at least once each year. If you look at Mike’s collection on Pacific Crest Stock, you can see that he has been quite prolific at capturing Autumn’s colors—some might even say he’s a little bit obsessed with it. In fact, Mike has so many colorful shots from previous years that I could probably just slip my name onto some of his cull shots rather than worrying about getting any photos of my own.
The rain was flooding off my windshield wipers as I veered onto Highway 126. It was raining so hard that I could barely see well enough to drive–much less effectively scout for stock photos. I could tell that tons of color had started to emerge along the roadside, but I couldn’t really make out any of the shapes or textures through my fogged up windows, so I decided to pull off the highway and take a closer look at one of the lava flows just north of Clear Lake. This particular lava flow has a nice smattering of vine maples and lichen-covered Fir trees, and while it normally has plenty of potential this time of year, the rain was coming down so hard that I opted to not even take my camera outside with me as I scouted around.
Cold and soaking wet, I climbed back into the Jeep, and drove another mile or so down the road until I spotted another potential shot along the bank where the McKenzie River crosses under the highway. I got back outside and braved the weather for awhile, but after scouting the scene closer, I decided that the bank’s pitch was going to be too steep and slippery to get to where I needed to be for a satisfactory shot. As I started back toward my truck, I spotted an older gray-haired gentleman hiking out from the other side of the highway. He had a heavy backpack and a big, bright yellow umbrella and I thought to myself, “Wow, this guy is hardcore.” We had a brief conversation outside in the rain and then I offered him a ride down the road. Given the current downpour, he accepted my offer.
In the dry confines of the Jeep, we started talking about the weather outside and at some point, it became obvious that we both happened to be there on photography missions. That is when Jim introduced himself, and told me that although he is partially retired, he still occasionally teaches photography through Oregon University’s Outdoor Pursuits Program. In addition to decades of experience working as an outdoor photographer, Jim tells me that he also teaches a variety of backcountry survival and mountain rescue classes, and in the summertime, he leads tours though the Alps. I remember thinking, “Holy Cow! I want THIS guy’s job.”
Given all of his years of experience in photography Jim asked me my name (as if he was going to recognize it). I kind of laughed and explained that I was actually just an amateur hack of a photographer, but that I did occasionally hang out with some non-posers like Bruce Jackson and Mike Putnam. He knew Mike’s work and explained that Mike’s fine art website is one of the sites that he references in his Outdoor Photography class. I then mentioned the fact that Mike and I were hoping to start Pacific Crest Stock, and I explained our general mission of trying to offer only the highest quality images—rather than uploading thousands of mediocre shots like most stock agencies. He offered me some good advice about the stock business and gave me a few helpful hints about how to effectively photograph in adverse weather conditions (e.g., to keep one of those little hand warmer packs in your bag next to your camera so that your lens doesn’t fog up every time you remove the cap).
It was a fascinating conversation, and before I knew it, I had driven many miles farther than anticipated. I think Jim started to feel a little bit bad about me abandoning my goal of shooting that day, and with the rain letting up a bit, he politely offered to hike the rest of the way downstream. We shook hands and wished each other luck. Then, I turned around and backtracked up the road to a place where the McKenzie River Trail bisects one of the forest service roads. I knew that Tamolitch Pool was a just a few miles upstream from this spot so I finally got out of the truck and started hiking.
Tamolitch Pool, which is also known as the “Blue Pool,” is one of the most unique places in all of Oregon. After cascading over several famous waterfalls (Koosah Falls, Sahalie Falls), the McKenzie River actually disappears and runs underground for awhile before finally re-surfacing at this spot. I suspected there would be good color around the shores of the pool, and with it overcast and raining hard all day, I knew that the blue water and fall colors would be completely saturated. However, as optimistic as I was about the picture, I was also quite worried that the rain was going to be hammering down into the pool, keeping me from getting a decent reflection of the trees that surround the pool. Without the reflection, I knew the picture would be incomplete. But still, I started hiking through the drizzle hoping for the best.
Within a few minutes of leaving the Jeep, the drizzle turned to downpour, and my hopes for Tamolitch Pool began to fade. There were many other pretty spots along the trail, but with the heavy rain, I was reluctant to even pull my camera out of the backpack. I continued along the waterlogged trail, trudging through ankle-deep puddles and over slippery roots and rocks until I finally made it to the pool. I was sitting on the cliffs above the pool, catching water on my tongue as it dropped off the brim of my cap and wondering how much longer it was going to rain when the magical moment finally arrived. The rain stopped and the trees’ reflection began to take shape in the pool.
Altogether, I had less than 5 minutes of dry time, and then, the rain started again just as quickly as it had stopped. But that was enough of a break. I captured the image above and grinned all of the way back to my vehicle.
I was still feeling fortunate about my timing at Tamolitch Pool when a few miles down the highway, I looked over at the trail and noticed that big, bright yellow umbrella again. I swung the Jeep around and saved Jim from another cold, soaking rain. We talked about the photos we had taken in the last few hours and then I dropped him off at the McKenzie Ranger Station. I drove away inspired, thinking about what a lucky life Jim was living. He was in the golden years of retirement, and even on this rainy October day, he was out taking pictures and living the “summer’s life.” I can only hope that I am lucky enough to have someone rescuing me from rain on this same hike another 30 years from now.
Posted by Troy McMullin
NOTE: If you want to see additional images from the McKenzie River area, you can browse the pictures in the Trees gallery on our Pacific Crest Stock photography site or search the site for “fall foliage.”
Everyone has heard the saying about how “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Well, this overly optimistic outlook is one of the problems that I often struggle with when I’m out scouting for pictures. On one recent expedition, it almost cost me my life.
I wanted to do some scouting around Three Fingered Jack in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area, so I hiked into Canyon Creek Meadows (alone). When I arrived in the upper meadow, it was absolutely gorgeous.
But for some reason, that wasn’t enough. Despite standing in one of the most spectacular spots in the whole world, I couldn’t help but wonder what the views were like on the ridge to my immediate left. I just knew that if I could find a way to get up on that ridge, I was going to find some unique and dramatic landscape shot that would be better than any that I have ever taken before. The urge to climb that ridge was just overwhelming, and so I threw my camera gear into the backpack and started trekking toward the tree line.
As I approached the base of the ridge, the pine trees grew more and more dense until they became almost impassable. The trees were only about 10 or 12 feet tall, but they had grown so close together that it was almost impossible for anything bigger than a rabbit to walk between them. I began grabbing low hanging branches and with as much strength as I could muster, I started pulling myself through the wall of trees. My backpack and tripod must have gotten hooked around a thousand different branches, and I swore that there was no way I would ever go back through this part of the forest again. A few hundred vertical feet later, I finally popped out of the trees and found myself standing on a steep rocky slope. I attempted to traverse the slope, only to find that the boulders were incredibly unstable. As they slipped and rolled under my feet, I started scrambling on all fours until I eventually made my way up to more solid ground. From there, I could see a rock tunnel that spiraled up to what appeared to be an easy route to the top, so I did my best spider-man impression and wedged myself up through the winding rock tunnel.
It was at this point that I should have remembered the other saying about how “appearances can be deceiving” because once I made it through the tunnel, that apparently easy route to the top completely disappeared. I was now standing on a ledge that was a little more than one-square foot around. The ledge was too small to turn around on; the way down was much too steep to go back; and the only way up was via another ledge that was sticking out about 5 feet away. In a bit of a panicked haste, I decided that my only option was to jump up and over to the other ledge.
To lighten my load for the leap, I took off my backpack and tossed it and my hiking poles up to the ledge above me. I then took another look at the distance, and this is when I began to have some serious doubts about whether or not I could actually make the gap, especially since the fear running through my body was causing my legs to grow weaker and weaker by the minute. On level ground, I wouldn’t have thought twice about jumping up and over to the other ledge, but with a few hundred feet of vertical relief below me, the whole idea of it was becoming rather unsettling.
I stood there, trembling on the tiny ledge for several excruciating minutes trying to find another way out of the situation. I looked down at the route I had taken up to this spot and started to imagine what it would feel like to have my body ricocheting down through the rocks. I even remember staring down at the rock slide below me trying to calculate where my body might stop rolling if I couldn’t hold on to the ledge after jumping. None of these thoughts were all that comforting, and as I started contemplating calling for an emergency rescue rather than attempting to make the jump over to the other ledge, I realized that a rescue call was no longer an option because my cell phone was already resting comfortably in my backpack on the other ledge. That was the final straw and when I realized that I really had no choice at this point but to jump. I focused my eyes on the exact spot where I thought I needed to land, and then I crouched down and quickly lunged across the gap reaching out as far as I possibly could. I didn’t breathe for a few seconds until I finally realized that my fingers had firmly grasped onto the ledge above me and that my feet had found a hold on the side of the rocks. Immensely relieved, I scrambled on to the top of the rocks, rolled over to my back, and swore that I would never again climb up something that I couldn’t safely climb back down.
The trip was rather uneventful from this point. After a few more relatively easy scrambles, I made it to the top of the ridge. The views from the top certainly weren’t worth dying for, but they were pretty spectacular–with the pinnacles of Three Fingered Jack towering directly overhead and wide open views of Mount Jefferson to the north, and Mount Washington and the Three Sisters Mountains to the south. I found several interesting compositions up on the ridgeline, but unfortunately, the light was too harsh by the time I arrived to really do them justice with a camera. Plus, to be honest, I felt like I had kind of lost my appetite for exploring any more on that particular day. After 4 hours of hiking and climbing up to this spot, I probably spent less than 10 minutes on the top of the ridge, and then I turned around; found an easy way back down to the meadow; and hiked out to my truck—just happy to be alive.
Posted by Troy McMullin
PS: Although I haven’t returned to the ridge since nearly being stranded on that ledge, I have a photograph in mind that I hope to capture later this Spring. With any luck at all, it will soon be posted on our Pacific Crest Stock photography website. We’ll keep you updated.
After countless days of hiking together and talking about starting a new stock photography agency, Mike Putnam and Troy McMullin have finally started to make some serious progress. The Pacific Crest Stock website is nearing completion, and with this entry, our photography blog has become a reality. We hope that you will sign up for the RSS feed or check back regularly as we will use this blog to share new stock images and a variety of interesting stories from our adventures as landscape photographers. From stories about being stranded high on the cliffs of Three Fingered Jack to near-death mountain lion attacks, this blog will hopefully be an entertaining way to stay abreast of what’s new and exciting in the lives of a few hard-working photographers trying to start a new business.
For a sneak peek at the Pacific Crest Stock website, follow one of the gallery links on the right-hand side of the blog page.
Thanks for visiting, and please stay tuned!
Mike and Troy